Professor Leickness Simbayi has been appointed as executive director of the large research programme on the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), from 1 June 2009. Simbayi, who has been acting in this position for 15 months, holds a BSc in Biology and Psychology (University of Zambia), a Master’s of Science in Psychology (University of Utah, USA) and a DPhil in Experimental Psychology (University of Sussex, UK). He is a registered Research Psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa‘s Professional Board of Psychology.
Simbayi has been with the HSRC since 2001, and Dr Olive Shisana, CEO of the HSRC, says he comes with an “impeccable publication record and is a well-known researcher in his own right”. He has published mostly in the area of social aspects of HIV/AIDS, in particular on second-generation HIV surveillance, HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, orphans and vulnerable children, determinants of HIV infection (such as poverty, alcohol and drug use, gender-based violence, multiple sexual partnerships, and male circumcision), and theory-based HIV social and behavioural risk reduction interventions, including positive prevention, which targets people living with HIV/AIDS who are aware of their status. He also has published articles on African traditional healing.
Simbayi is currently an associate editor of two peer-reviewed academic journals, namely AIDS & Behaviour and the Journal of Psychology in Africa. He also serves on the international advisory board of Vulnerable Children and Youth, and is an extraordinary professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. He recently co-edited a book entitled HIV/AIDS in South Africa 25 Years on:Psychosocial Perspective, which will be published by Springer of New York this September.
In 2008, Simbayi was awarded the CEO’s Award at the HSRC. This award aims to recognise extraordinary contributions to the achievement of the goals of the HSRC, and to reward researchers who, among other achievements, has made consistent research contributions in the last three years by publishing in high impact and internationally recognised journals; and has undertaken significant work in other parts of Africa.